Entitlement to School Transport for pupils with complex special needs

Summary of General Statement of Policy which applies to all pupils

Generally the council will provide transport for pupils who are registered pupils at their local school and live more than the recognised (statutory) walking distance from it, that is 2 miles for children of primary school age, and 3 miles for older children. For most children this transport is free, but there are charges for those who make use of the council’s school transport services but are not themselves entitled to free transport. If a parent sends his/her child to another school, she/he cannot claim from the council the money the school transport service would otherwise have been prepared to spend on transporting the child to his/her local school.

You may be entitled to help if your family is eligible for Free School Meals or is in receipt of the maximum level of Working Families Tax Credits. If you do not receive any details from Cheshire East Transport and believe you may be eligible for school transport please call 0300 123 5012.

Entitlement to transport on complex / special needs grounds

When assessing a child/young person’s complex special needs, the Local Authority will decide whether the child/young person would be able to comply with the distance criteria. If the advice indicates that a child/young person would be unable to fulfil this requirement, then transport will be provided free of charge.

Decisions are evidence based and made following an individual assessment of need. The Local Authority will look at factors such as the needs of the child, the nature of the route to school and the suitability of existing transport options.

Criteria will include:

  • The child/young person’s physical or sensory impairment prevents them from achieving independent travel or walking the statutory walking distance accompanied by an adult.
  • Assessed behaviours and social independence skills of the child/young person are such that they would be unable to travel safely, accompanied by an adult.

Students with complex special needs who attend post 16 education establishments

Students who continue their education after the age of 16, can apply for transport via the Home to School Transport Policy.

It is expected that the Local Authority will collaborate with Learning and Skills Council, Further Education Colleges, Integrated Youth Support Service Personal Advisors and the Integrated Transport Service in developing, publishing and delivering transport for students.

Schools, College Personnel and Connexions Personal Advisers have the responsibility of introducing independence training and reducing the reliance on specialist transport. These personnel will also be required to provide evidence for the purpose of assessing eligibility of the student’s independence skills, levels of attainment and course details in adequate time for an appropriate and thorough assessment to be made.

Transport will only be provided to the nearest college offering the appropriate course or similar. Parents/carers will need to re-apply for transport on an annual basis. Support with transport may be provided at least up to the age of 21 and for a maximum of three years. The appropriate application form is available by telephoning 0300 123 5012.

Parental preference

Where a child attends a school other than that designated by the Local Authority to serve the pupil’s home address or, is not the nearest appropriate school as deemed by the Local Authority, the parents are responsible for making their own transport arrangements and for all the transport costs.


Should the Local Authority refuse to provide travel assistance or free travel, there is a parental right of appeal to a Special Appeals Committee. Please click for details of the appeals procedure (Microsoft Word, 2.56MB).


The arrangements for assisted transport which may be made under this policy will be at the Council’s discretion, taking account of the child/young person needs and best value principles.

These arrangements will take the form of:

  • standard mileage allowance where no existing transport was available or pupil would be travelling alone or
  • travel pass for use on public transport; or
  • travel pass or other authorisation for use on private contract services; or
  • alternative/accessible vehicle.

Transport arrangements

Transport will be provided at an appropriate specified place and time. It is the parent/carer’s responsibility to ensure that the child/young person is ready and taken to the agreed pick up point. No alternative transport will be made on that day and the parent/carer will responsible for ensuring the child/young person’s attendance at school.

Contact us

0300 123 5020

Monday to Friday 8:30 to 17:00

Postal Address only:

Transport Service Solutions
Cledford Lane
CW10 0JN

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